Tech Tips

Selecting An Appropriate “App Stack” For Your Lab

Enabling Fullest Flourishment Of Study

The purpose of a lab is to make discoveries which justify costs involved in running the operation. There are going to be many expenses, but the kind of discoveries you make stand not just to benefit those who fund you, but mankind as a whole. Accordingly, the resources spent are worth it. Still, it’s important that you consolidate expenses as best you can. They must be reduced wherever possible.


 

One of your first orders of business will be to consider technology. Technology allows you to automate many things and reduce associated expenses. Still, there are some technologies which will be more appropriate than others. To that end, many businesses are finding that an “aaS” app stack can be ideal. This will require a closer look.

 

The “aaS” designation stands for “as a Service”, and refers to varying things cloud computing makes possible in modernity. You can float your entire network to the cloud now if that suits you. Desktop as a Service (DaaS) makes it possible for anyone with proper access credentials to access and perform work on your network at any time from anywhere. Now you can decentralize certain aspects of your operation which don’t necessarily require someone on-site.

 

Today, there are a great variety of cloud-based apps on the market owing to this shift in technological potentiality. What you want to do is take stock of your lab’s needs, the funding you have available, and the apps on the market. From there, you want to choose the ones which will ultimately end up providing the most benefit. Three which many labs find exceptionally useful will be explored here.

 



The Clockspot App

Clockspot is an app which reduces the complication involved in payroll. It becomes possible to complete payroll at the click of a mouse, and with great accuracy. Additionally, this service provides many tangential solutions such as Excel spreadsheets and the like. Clockspot can fulfill employee needs and reduce their totality while simultaneously streamlining payroll infrastructure. This makes it possible to ease mobile work. With solutions like these, people can clock in or out based on something digital, not based on something locational.

So instead of being bound to your site, using a solution like clockspot will give your business the ability to effectively decentralize and reduce clock-milking. Any business will deal with employees clocking in earlier than they actually begin to be productive, or clocking out fifteen to twenty minutes after they’ve quit working.

If you’ve got 20 employees who average 20 minutes of clock milking per day, five days a week, that’s 400 minutes every four weeks, and 5,200 minutes in the 52 weeks of a year. If your costs as a business are only $30 per worker, that’s $2,600 a year in milked clock time alone. Probably enough to pay for most apps which facilitate remote login.

 

Consider also that employees working remotely are less likely to milk the clock, because you can establish protocols where they don’t login unless they’re actually working, and this is visible through their portal accessing your network via the cloud.

 


World-Class Study Solutions

StudyLog is a world-class research tool that allows you to consolidate, organize, and render more effective the data you’ve collected throughout your lab. There are many apps like this, and they’re well worth your time. One of the biggest hassles of running a lab involves managing data, and solutions like this simplify that substantially.

What’s additionally considerable when you’re looking at information consolidation apps of this kind is that their scope is exponentially expanding. Moore’s Law is a concept which was first observed by Gordon Moore in the 1960s. He noticed a predictable rate of technological doubling in terms of computational capacity. The rate he noticed is currently understood to be about 18 months.

Put a pin in that thought, and now consider cloud computing, which has been technically possible since the “internet” became a feasible thing, but which has only begun hitting its stride in the last five years. Cloud computing multiplies computational surface area through multiple networked servers. Think pixels on a computer screen. Where one server could only calculate, say, a gigabyte in real time, 1,056 can do a terabyte in real time. There are cloud-based server arrays with more than a million servers networked together.

“Big Data” is a term used to describe this new ability to process vast quantities of data in real time. Apps which utilize big data can give you real-time information, reducing the time necessary in conducting research and delivering more accurate results. The research implications are staggering and can align multiple labs together toward a common end.

 


Tagging Solutions And Management Of Them Through Applications

Many labs have animal test subjects which must be organized and tested in varying ways. This can get complicated when you’ve got a group with thousands of individuals which require careful management. Just the act of tagging rodents can take hours, and be more expensive than necessary.

 

Meanwhile, Rapid Lab allows for a barcode scanning technique which reduces time and complication involved in tagging test subjects of varying kind throughout your lab. This solution increases visibility, reduces complication, and accordingly brings down the cost of lab ownership in a way that is certainly measurable over time.

Just for the sake of argument, say you’ve got 1,000 rodents which must have an ear tag applied. You’ve got to organize the tags, prepare them, and then apply them. The tags have a cost, the time organizing and preparing them has a cost, and the time applying them has a cost. Let’s imagine the total time involved is 3 minutes per. That’s 3,000 minutes or 50 hours.

If you’ve got to run 12 trials with 1,000 rodent test subjects in a year, that’s 600 hours. If the professional time of your lab workers is worth $30, that comes to $18k in a year. Meanwhile, with rapid ID tagging techniques, you can just apply a barcode, and scan the rats in as simple as pointing a little laser scanner and waiting for a beep. If you can cut the time in half, you save $9k and justify the cost of the tagging system.

There are additionally RFID tagging systems available which can provide instantaneous results, provided you’ve properly installed the little chips throughout your test subjects. There’s a downside in that some test subjects can’t be re-used, meaning a balance between rapid tagging and RFID makes the most sense, and managing such a solution through an app stack configured to the purpose is going to give you the greatest utility of either solution.

Optimizing Your Lab

lab app stack optimize lab

Science and technology go hand-in-hand. They are like a couple who is co-dependent. They rely on and enable one another. However, it’s also notable that competition often intrudes today, and it can hamper the impact of your lab. Also, there is a cost involved in any scientific exploit which can’t be ignored. If you’re going to make headway, you must trim the fat.

The key is finding applications which return enough ROI to justify and overcome their own expense. The solutions listed in this writing do exactly this thing. There are others available, and it makes sense to sit down as a team and figure out where pain points are that can be addressed with such cloud-facilitated technology.

 

Organizing an app stack which incorporates infrastructural necessities can be an ideal way to optimize your lab’s operation. Additionally, there is no end to applications available for in this arena, and new ones are being developed all the time. As a lab, you want to get on that train as soon as possible. So consider your existing situation, what you have, what you don’t have, and how to get what you need.

 

Mokhtar Ebrahim
I'm working as a Linux system administrator since 2010. I'm responsible for maintaining, securing, and troubleshooting Linux servers for multiple clients around the world. I love writing shell and Python scripts to automate my work.

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